Friday, October 30, 2015

Quebec cuisine

Warning: this will make you hungry!

I met my friend Chris for a snacking adventure through Montreal's Jewish and Breton heritage. First stop: St. Viateur, one of two famous purveyors of Montreal bagels. 
Sesame bagels warm from the oven after a bath with a trace of honey. Try topping that. 
Okay, we did. Our next stop was Bleu et Persill√©,  a new cheese shop. We sampled five or six Quebec cheeses and discovered that Antoine used to work at La Fromagerie in San Francisco. 
They had a whole row of fondue and another of fresh yogurt. 
You can bet I'm bringing home fromage
We had an exemplary quiche (dairy in Quebec rivals France or Ireland) at Trois M and then stopped in at another patisserie for buttery, crunchy Kouign amann. 
I don't know how people in Montreal don't all weigh 300 pounds. 
Chris had to go back to her real life. After dropping off my cheese at the guesthouse, I took a bus up the mountain (Mont Royal is more of a big hill) and then strolled down through the forest to Schwartz's deli. 
Schwartz's is famous for smoked meat, Montreal's version of pastrami. 
These people are serious about meat. Service is a lot friendlier than at Katz's though on par with Langer's in LA, my favorite pastrami on rye anywhere. 
And the sandwich? Succulent. Small enough to fit in your mouth. Under CAD$10. Cash only, which cleaned out nearly all my Canadian dollars. And worth every cent. 

Epilogue: on my way home from Schwartz's a poster caught my eye. It was the history of garment workers 100 years ago. The Yiddish word shmata  (rags) made me think of Aunt Ruthie, my grandfather's sister who used to shop in Hallandale on "shmata row."
As I stepped back to get a better shot, I lost my balance and tumbled backward, knocking over a store sign. A man came to check on me and then a woman who saw my puffy pink coat from up the block. Fortunately I wasn't even scratched. Didn't break my wrist or the sign I landed on or my iPhone. Moral: sometimes it pays to have a little extra padding. 
Training starts Monday.